Posted on 7 August 2014
Māori Affairs Minister, Hon Dr Pita Sharples, unveiled a new Pou Mātauranga at the Open Polytechnic this week as part of the distance learning organisation’s celebration of Māori student achievement.
The Pou Mātauranga was carved by Shane Whatarau (Ngāti Hine) and is situated in the main reception area of the tertiary institution’s Lower Hutt campus.
During the official unveiling ceremony Dr Sharples commended the Open Polytechnic on the work it is doing to provide flexible learning opportunities for Māori adult learners all over New Zealand who are often balancing their studies with work and family commitments.
The largest provider of flexible distance learning in New Zealand, and one of the biggest educators of the current workforce, around 5,000 students who identify as Māori enrol with the Open Polytechnic each year, constituting 15 per cent of total enrolments for the distance learning specialist.
“Today was an awesome occasion. Coming back to the Open Polytechnic today reminded me of how it used to operate many years ago like a mail room with papers coming in and distributed out to teachers. It’s come a long way since then with its online delivery. I’m so impressed with the way it works and the way it manages to incorporate Māori pedagogy in to their long distance teaching programmes”, said the Minister of Māori Affairs Dr Pita Sharples.
Open Polytechnic Chief Executive, Dr Caroline Seelig, says it was an honour to have Minister Sharples unveil the new Pou Mātauranga. “Minister Sharples is a passionate advocate for Māori achievement, and as an academic himself, understands the importance of appropriate learning support to help students achieve their individual education goals.”
“For the Open Polytechnic, the Pou Mātauranga symbolises the progress we have made in supporting Māori student achievement, and our commitment to ensuring we remain focussed on student success.”